Tennis: Pete Sampras backs Roger Federer for eighth Wimbledon title


American tennis legend Pete Sampras believes Roger Federer still has the ability and passion to conquer a record eighth Wimbledon title. Both Sampras and Federer have won the tournament seven times, the most since tennis entered the Open era. Federer's last Grand Slam title was at Wimbledon in 2012. Last year was one of the worst of Federer's career but Sampras believes the Swiss champion still has what it takes to win major tournaments.

"As long as he is enjoying it and he's healthy, I can see him playing for two to four more years. He truly loves the sport," Sampras said. Federer seems to have gone past the back problems that troubled him last year and also seems to be relishing the opportunity to work with coach Stefan Edberg. He managed to beat Tsonga and Murray to reach the semi finals of the Australian Open but was then defeated by Rafael Nadal. Sampras was there to watch the match: "I thought his level in Australia was quite good. When you're playing against Rafa and if you're not quite on your game then it can seem like you're struggling. Rafa's a rock. But I do see Roger building from that, I think he's going to do well this year."

"Things need to fall into place and he needs to play well but I do think he can do it win a Grand Slam. I think it is what he's playing for," Sampras added. Federer says he intends to play until the age of 35, that is until the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Sampras, who retired at the age of 31, says: "He's done everything in the game and he could walk away feeling great but he still wants to travel and compete and I'm in awe of it. Clearly the majors are his motivation but he's happy to still travel and play the other events. I found myself getting tired at 30 or 31."

Roger Federer is 7/1 at Bet365 to win the Wimbledon tournament this year while top favourite Novak Djokovic is 15/8.

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